But have you ever stopped to think about how pearl cultivation began? Freshwater pearl cultivation dates back as far as the thirteenth century in China, where mabe pearls in the shape of Buddha were produced. Foreign objects were inserted between the outer skin layer mantle and the shell of the mollusc would coat it with nacre thus creating a blister pearl. Kokichi Mikimoto, the son of a noodle shop owner in Japan, first inspired by an exhibition of pearls in Japan in began to experiment with ways to produce pearls. He adapted the method from China to culture blister pearls in large quantities in the s using the Pinctada fucata oyster and in he was the first person to be granted a patent.
However the demand for blister pearls was not enough to sustain the industry. Finally in after years of experimenting — he did just that and succeeded to grow a whole pearl. They both developed the same cultivation method and Mise and Nishikawa discovered that to produce a round pearl three key elements were needed- the nucleus needed to be inserted within the body of the oyster together with a piece of nacre secreting mantle tissue.
This piece of nacre secreting tissue ensures the formation of a pearl sac around the nucleus so that the nacre will be deposited. In they both realised their dream and were awarded their licenses from the Japanese government. Mikimoto was a resilient man with an incredible vision. He knew that the warm waters along the southern coast of Japan were the ideal conditions for pearl farming. He first began farming akoya pearls along the km coastline of the Mie Prefecture and akoya cultured pearl farms still thrive there today.
The term stuck. By , Mikimoto had grown his enterprise to pearl farms in Japan, reaching a production peak of nearly 11,, pearls Pearls as One, Mikimoto remained devoted to the development of the cultured pearl industry until his death in It was his dedication and the techniques of Mise and Nishikawa that we owe the success of the cultured pearl industry today. And he succeeded in adorning the necks of some of the most beautiful and famous women in the world.
Mikimoto would be a very proud man today. Since the early days of pearl cultivation and the huge rise in global pearl production in China in the s , Australia and South East Asia, pearls no longer remain the gem of the rich and famous. Today, however, as new techniques emerge and China takes over survival for the next generation Japanese akoya pearl farmer means the need to be even more innovative and technically savvy if they are to compete with an ever growing competitive market.
From exquisitely elegant diamond, pearl and gemstone designs to contemporary Murano glass jewellery, every piece is lovingly […].
Member Profile: Damian Miles Damian Miles is a jeweller, goldsmith, silversmith, gemmologist, jewellery valuer and pearl stringer with over 20 years experience. He also offers a jewellery repair […]. The family-run business, now Midlands based, was established in and prides itself on the outstanding quality of its pearls and exceptional service delivered to customers across the UK.
They have an extensive range of hand selected freshwater, cultured, Tahitian and South Sea pearls that exceed the expectations of many customers. It continually updates its ranges of 9 and 18 carat jewellery and seeks to produce the highest standards of manufacturing using in-house designers.
They produce the vast majority of its pearl jewellery both in Evesham and their workshop in Birmingham. They also offer comprehensive repairs, restringing and cleaning services. I think because of the hardships and survival instinct that was the core strength of the people of the pearls in the Gulf. The people had abundance of faith and passion that lead them to experience the joy of prosperity in the midst of harsh diversity.
Many divers would journey for months and face all kinds of hardships such as marine hazards, sickness, hallucinations and dangerous encounters with venomous stings and bites of jellyfish, sharks, barracuda, and sawfish. They survived on dates, coffees, fish and oyster meats for months.
However, they maintained high hopes and faith and entertained themselves with folklore songs and beautiful chants as their boats continued to navigate by the direction of the sun and the color and depth of the sea.
They would keep their homes safe and prepare the essence of musk, saffron and amber in preparation of welcoming home their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons. They would gather every evening chanting poets, singing songs of the pearls, seas and journeys of the divers!
They would pray and yearn for the safe return of their loved ones. These divers brought hope of prosperity to their families. Such was the life of the divers and their families all around Al Rams and neighboring villages. Tragedy was inevitable, however, the return home was always a joyful occasion. As they approached the shores of their homes, from a distance you would hear their chants in rhythm with the oars, looking forward to uniting with their loved ones and sharing the stories of their journeys.
The blend of prosperity and adversity in the past has been kept of the memory of generation after a generation and so it has stayed in my heart. Caring and nurturing the seeded oysters for about a year while nacre grows over the seeded nucleus,. What about extracting the pearls from the mollusks — is this a complicated process? The process is very simple, and it takes few seconds. A special traditional knife is used to open the oyster to extract the pearl from its gonad, similar to the extracting of a natural pearl from an oyster.
Our Arabian pearl oyster have the same DNA of famous and unique Arabian natural pearls, it produces 13 different color from the glowing white, off white, to the shades of blues, greys, yellowish, gold, pinkish, violet and green colors. This is something that has been in your family for centuries — how are you keeping the memory of your ancestors alive?
Pearling was embedded in the culture and the traditions of everyday life of the Julfar villages, the birth place of my ancestors. The family background traces back to life in the Gulf region that has been entwined with the jewel of the ocean for over years.
My ancestors carried on with pearling for generations leading finally to the 20th century with my grandfather Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al-Suwaidi being one of the last remaining pearl divers of Al Suwaidi legacy. For centuries many divers dedicated their lives to pearl diving as it was the main means of living and generating wealth. I have a symbolic relationship with pearls and for me pearls symbolise wisdom and I believe this organic gem is the subject of many myths and legends.
Provided to China Daily. Chinese pearl farmers dominate the world market but now want to work smarter, not harder. The Chinese pearling industry has a 4,year history and in ancient times, the precious gem symbolized fortune and authority. Emperors used pearls in their imperial gowns and crowns to show their power and dignity.
About 1, years ago, China became first country to farm cultured pearls and today the nation is still the largest cultured pearl producer and exporter in the world with 95 percent market share. But despite overwhelming market domination, revenue is surprisingly small because of the low-quality pearls it produces.
Now the industry wants to raise the bar, and is investigating ways to create better, more in-demand products. Shi says about 70 percent of the production volume is exported to other countries annually as raw materials for further processing, and the enormous potential of the domestic market has not been fully developed. There is still a huge room for increment.
The modern pearl cultivation method, which has been mastered by the Chinese, was first developed by a British biologist named William Saville-Kent in and it was adapted and improved by the Japanese in the s. Since the s, cultured pearls have made up the majority of pearls in the market place. Compared with natural pearls found in the ocean, freshwater cultured pearls mature much faster but because of their quality and high volume are significantly cheaper.